Facebook pioneer rues its ‘phoney relationships’
An early investor in Facebook has compared the social network’s methods to those of Nazi propaganda chief Joseph Goebbels and Edward Bernays, the “father of public relations” who promoted smoking for women.
Roger McNamee, who made a fortune from early backing of the social network, suggested that Facebook and other technology giants like Google had substituted “phoney relationships for real relationships” and were not being held accountable.
“In order to maintain your attention they have taken all the techniques of Edward Bernays and Joseph Goebbels, and all of the other people from the world of persuasion, and all the big ad agencies, and they’ve mapped it onto an all-day product with highly personalised information in order to addict you. We are all to one degree or another addicted.”
McNamee is the latest in a series of tech investors to denounce what they see as the evils of social media.
“Many of these methods are the same as they use in casinos,” he said. “The problem is the advertising business model. There are millions of things they can show you and they pick the 20 things most commercially valuable to them, and these are not designed to make you wiser, better educated or healthier.”
Similar to tabloid newspaper wars dating back to the 19th century, McNamee said, “fear and anger” had become the predominant emotions on the social network. “We have lowered the civil discourse; people have become less civil to each other.”